Sure. I’ve never known a writer who didn’t feel ill at ease in the world. Have you? We all feel unhoused in some sense. That’s part of why we write. We feel we don’t fit in, that this world is not our world, that though we may move in it, we’re not of it. Different experiences in our lives may enforce or ameliorate that, but I think if they ameliorate it totally, we stop writing. You don’t need to write a novel if you feel at home in the world. We write about the world because it doesn’t make sense to us. Through writing, maybe we can penetrate it, elucidate it, somehow make it comprehensible. If I had ever found the place where I was perfectly at home, who knows what I would have done? Maybe I would have been a biologist after all. No great loss if that had been the case, but it didn’t work out that way.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Andrea Barrett on feeling at home in the world
I'm thinking a lot about writing today, and the process, and happened across this passage in a Paris Review interview with Andrea Barrett.
I think she nails it.
Yesterday I was dealing with the Housing Office at my son's university, a man in a white truck who was probably casing our neighborhood, the Army Corps of Engineers asking for a public hearing about coal ash dumping and its impact on the environment, and a group that has formed to take on a big development nightmare encroaching close by.
All of which center around the notion of home.
None of which made sense to me.
Today I start the writing part of a new novel. Not a moment too soon.